Key Verse: 3:6
“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’”
1. Read 3:1-10. Where were Peter and John and how had they been
changed? Describe the man at the Beautiful Gate. What did he want?
How did Peter respond? How was this beggar's life changed? In what
way is he a parable of all changed lives? How did the people react?
2. Read 3:11-16. Why did a crowd gather? How did Peter explain the
healing of the crippled beggar? What had been done to Jesus by sinful
men? How had the God of Abraham glorified Jesus? What does it mean
to have faith in the name of Jesus?
3. Read 3:17-23. How had God fulfilled what he had promised through
the prophets? Read 3:19 again. What must those who hear this message
4. Read 4:1-12. Why were the Sadducees so upset at the apostles'
preaching? What was the result of their preaching? What question
did the rulers ask the apostles? What was their testimony? Why is
salvation found only in Jesus?
5. Read 4:13-22. Why were the rulers astonished at Peter and John?
What did they perceive about them? What was their dilemma? What did
they command the apostles? What was the apostles' response? What did
the rulers do? Why?
6. Read 4:23-31. What does their prayer reveal about their view of
history? What was their prayer topic? God's answer? Read 4:32-37.
Describe their fellowship. What can we learn from them?
By the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Christian
church was born. However, the church was nothing but a baby, which
had to grow strong. In this passage we learn God's wisdom, that the
church was designed to experience pains and trials in its infancy
so that it might grow strong, strong enough to resist the power of
Satan. Chapters 3-8 describe how the Christian church grew through many
fiery testings. Today's passage chapters 3-4, tells how the apostles
helped a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus, and how they overcame
the threats of the Jewish leaders.
First, Peter heals a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus (3:1-10). Look
at verse 1. "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the
time of prayer--at three in the afternoon." For the Jews, there were 3
special hours of prayer: 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. To them, prayer was
efficacious. The apostles kept up the custom of prayer in the temple. One
afternoon, when Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray,
a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called
Beautiful. In the East, it was customary for beggars to sit begging
at the entrance to a temple or shrine, for they knew that worshipers
were disposed to be generous toward their fellow man. As soon as this
crippled man saw Peter and John about to enter, he instinctively seized
the opportunity and asked them for money (3). Peter and John said, "Look
at us!" We cannot tell exactly why they told him to look at them. But
it is evident that Peter and John thought this cripple needed healing
more than some money for himself and for his kids. To this crippled
man, just a few dollars would have been very useful. But what he really
needed was healing of his crippledness and of his deeply rooted beggar's
mentality. However, this fellow did not understand the apostles' shepherd
mind; he only expected to get something from them.
What did the apostles do with him? Look at verse 6. "Then Peter said,
'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name
of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."' Peter had no money. But he did
not think that he could not help this man. He had something to give to
him. What was it? It was the name of Jesus.
Peter was ready to help this man. To Peter, the way to truly help
this man was to heal him in the name of Jesus. So he said to him, "In
the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Peter was very clear that
he should be healed in the name of Jesus. Peter was clear that he should
be able to walk in the name of Jesus. Peter was clear that he should be
healed of his deeply rooted beggar's mentality in the name of Jesus. Peter
was clear that he needed the name of Jesus. What people really need is
the name of Jesus. These days, many parents see that the world is dark
and chaotic. They try to teach their children how to be tough. At the
same time, they work hard to save some money for their children. They
follow worldly common sense rather than the truth of God in helping their
children. When their children follow this worldly common sense, they only
become godless, selfish and extremely fearful. We must help our children
in the name of Jesus. We must give our children the name of Jesus.
What happened when Peter commanded him to walk in the name of
Jesus? Instantly, the man's ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet
and began to walk. He went with them into the temple courts, walking and
jumping, and praising God. The name of Jesus restored both his body and
his soul until he could praise God (8). This crippled man's fundamental
problem was not his physical condition, but his beggar's mentality,
which made him miserable always. When he was healed in the name of Jesus,
he was truly happy.
Peter himself knew what it was to be healed by Jesus. Peter was
a man of big mouth; but he had been very fearful. He had denied Jesus
three times at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, even though he didn't
mean to do it. But after he was healed by Jesus, he became a man of
courageous faith. John was a man of anger. Once, when some Samaritans
did not welcome the band of Jesus, he asked Jesus, "Lord, do you want us
to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" (Lk.9:54) But after he
was healed by Jesus, he became a man of love and a happy man. There was
a son of a widowed mother. He tried to get human love during his college
days. When he did so, he was miserable and his shepherd was miserable,
too. But after he was healed by Jesus, he became a happy man. Now he
is a father to 700 students in his chapter. Jesus came to this world to
heal the sick and to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus
healed the sick for the sake of healing their sinsick souls.
After this man was healed, people who saw him recognized him, and
they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him
(10). When this man crippled from birth was healed, everyone was truly
happy. In truth, there is no greater joy to all mankind than to see a
crippled man made whole in the name of Jesus.
Second, Peter witnesses to the name of Jesus (3:11-26). All the people who
had seen this miracle were astonished and came running to them. Peter and
John became very popular. People did not see God behind them; they only
saw Peter and John. It was a great temptation to Peter and John. But
Peter and John were not at all swayed by the tempting situation. They
began to witness to the name of Jesus. They emphasized two things.
In the first place, "It is Jesus' name" (12-16). Look at verse
12. "When Peter saw this, he said to them: 'Men of Israel, why does this
surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness
we had made this man walk?"' Peter told the people that it was not they
who had healed the man. In that situation, Peter could have shared God's
glory 50/50. But he did not steal God's glory. He gave all the credit
Promptly, Peter began to explain who Jesus is. He explained that
Jesus is the promised Messiah. Look at verses 13,14. "The God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.
You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate,
though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous
One and asked that a murderer be released to you." As a conclusion to
this, Peter said in verse 15, "You killed the author of life, but God
raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." The world crucified
Jesus on the cross like a criminal. But God raised him from the dead. This
Risen Jesus gave his apostles power and authority to heal the sick. Verse
16 says, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know
was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him
that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." This
verse explains that Jesus is the only one who can give complete healing
to mankind. This crippled man was healed also because of the apostles'
faith in the name of Jesus. May God heal many sinsick souls because of
our faith in the name of Jesus.
In the second place, repentance in the name of Jesus (17-23). Peter
urges them to repent. Look at verse 17. "Now, brothers, I know that you
acted in ignorance, as did your leaders." Peter told them that in their
ignorance they committed the greatest crime against God in human history.
Still, they can repent in the name of Jesus. Then their sins can be
wiped out, and their burden of sin and guilt can be removed. If they
repent in the name of Jesus, they can enjoy times of refreshing from the
Lord. Many people go to many places to refresh themselves. Usually they
fail. Repentance is the best way to refresh our minds and souls. Most
importantly, if we repent in the name of Jesus, Christ will come to
us and remain in us until God restores paradise, the kingdom of God,
as he promised long ago through his prophets (21). (In verses 24-26
Peter reminds them that they are a people chosen to be a blessing to
all peoples on earth.)
Third, we obey God (4:1-22). How did the Jewish leaders respond to
Peter's preaching? They should have rejoiced greatly because God had
done a great work through his people. But they did not. While Peter and
John were speaking to the people, the Pharisees and the Sadducees came
up to them to stop their teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus
the resurrection of the dead (1,2). Among the Jewish rulers, there were
two kinds: One was Pharisees and the other, Sadducees. When the apostles
began to witness fearlessly to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the
Pharisees were disturbed, since they had crucified Jesus on the cross. The
Sadducees also were annoyed, because they didn't believe in resurrection,
and more than this, they were afraid of any disturbance of the status
quo. If the apostles were allowed to go on preaching, they felt, riots and
civil disorder would occur and disturb their status quo. So these Jewish
rulers conspired to nip this movement in the bud. They seized Peter and
John and put them in jail until the next day (3). Even though the Jewish
rulers persecuted the early Christians in order to obliterate them, the
number of Christians was not reduced. Despite persecutions their number
grew and grew. Verse 4 says that those who heard the message believed,
and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
The next day, the Jewish rulers began to question them. "By
what power or what name did you do this?" (7) Peter said, "We do
these things in the name of Jesus." Look at verses 8-10. "Then Peter,
filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers and elders of the
people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness
shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this,
you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that
this man stands before you healed."' At that time, Jesus was known as
a carpenter from Nazareth. So Peter quoted Psalm 118:22 to explain who
Jesus really was. Jesus is the stone rejected by the world (11). But he
is the capstone--the head of human history. Peter also expounded that
Jesus is the only salvation man can find. Verse 12 says, "Salvation is
found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to
men by which we must be saved."
The Jewish rulers tried to shut the apostles' mouths with their
political power. But it did not work. Rather, they were greatly surprised
to see the courage of Peter and John. They were even more surprised by
the fact that the apostles had been with Jesus, whom they had crucified.
Another surprise was to see the man who had been healed standing there as
a witness to the miracle done by the apostles in the name of Jesus. The
rulers of the Jews didn't know what to do. So they ordered the apostles
to withdraw from the Sanhedrin. Then the Jewish rulers conferred together
and decided to call the apostles back in and threaten them not to speak
or teach at all in the name of Jesus (18).
How did the apostles respond to their threats? Their threats
seemed to be an enforcement of martial law. Yet, the apostles were not
threatened; they chose to obey God. Look at verses 19,20. "But Peter
and John replied, 'Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's
sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about
what we have seen and heard.'" Most people do not want to tamper with
those who are in power, being afraid of their revenge. But Peter made a
choice to obey God, even though it was costly. He made the right choice,
because the choice to obey God is the best choice man can make. In the
movie "Ben Hur," there are the following lines: (Massala) "Judah, either
you help me or you oppose me. You have no other choice. Either you are
for me or against me." (Judah Ben-Hur) "If that is the choice, then I am
against you."' In the midst of threats the apostles chose to obey God. The
Jewish rulers' threat was a test of the apostles' loyalty. They passed
the test of loyalty to Jesus. Like the apostles, we have to choose to
obey either God or Satan. May God give us courageous faith to choose God.
Fourth, the believers' prayer (4:23-37). The early Christians were a
small group of people. Their leaders, Peter and John, were arrested and
brought to the same place where Jesus had been condemned to death. They
could have been fearful as they looked ahead to the troubles which
seemed to be pouncing upon them. But they were not. When Peter and John
came back from prison and reported that the Jewish rulers had threatened
them not to speak anymore of Jesus, they were not scared at all by their
threats. Instead they prayed with a loud voice. In their prayer we learn
their basic faith.
Firstly, they believed that God is the Sovereign Ruler of
history. Look at verse 24. "When they heard this, they raised their
voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made
the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.'" They
believed that God rules the world according to his sovereign will. So,
they were not intimidated by the Jewish rulers. On the other hand,
they believed that the Jewish leaders were nobodies who were kicking
against a rock in vain. Look at verses 25,26. "You spoke by the Holy
Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: 'Why do the
nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take
their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against
his Anointed One.'" True Christians know that God is the Sovereign Ruler
and have a sense of history in the Sovereign Ruler God.
Secondly, they asked God's strength to speak God's word. Look at
verses 29,30. "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants
to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal
and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy
The Jewish rulers' threats made them strong instead of making them
weak. All the believers were one in heart and mind. They shared everything
they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all (32-35).
In today's passage we learned that when the early Christians had
faith in the name of Jesus, they grew and grew through many pains and
trials. May God enable us to have faith in the name of Jesus and to
take pains and trials as necessary for the growth of our personal faith
and of Christian churches in this generation. May God enable us to heal
the sick in the name of Jesus.